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Lake Geneva man sentenced to prison in father’s death

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Ted Sullivan
July 26, 2008
— The Lake Geneva man accused of fatally beating his father in a drunken brawl told a judge Friday he hopes spending two years in prison will turn his life around.

“I’ve lost my father and my best friend,” Jacob D. Newer, 27, told the judge.


“I loved him.


“I hope to live the life my father would have been proud of.”


Newer, N2020 County H, Lake Geneva, was sentenced Friday in Walworth County Court to two years in prison after pleading guilty to felony second-degree reckless endangerment.


He will be on probation for four years following his prison sentence, Judge James Carlson decided, and he will have to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.


His father, David Newer, 57, died Feb. 28 from injuries investigators believe were inflicted by Jacob during a fight the two had at the Inn-B-Tween Motel, N1691 County H, outside Pell Lake, according to the criminal complaint.


A plea agreement was struck because no one really knows how David died that night, Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss told the judge.


Jacob and his uncle, Frank Newer, were intoxicated and don’t remember the incident, Koss said.


Forensic evidence didn’t tell the story of David’s death, Koss said, and the medical examiner could not determine whether his head injuries came from a fall or direct blow.


“I don’t think we’ll ever know quite what happened on that evening,” Koss said. “But we certainly have seen the ills of alcohol on good people.”


Jeffrey R. Krebs, deputy first assistant state public defender, told the judge alcohol has ravaged the Newers.


“This family has lost a father, a son, a brother,” he said.


The Newer family supported the plea agreement.


Laurie Cunningham, Jacob’s aunt and David’s sister, told the judge a two-year sentence and probation will give her nephew an opportunity for counseling.


“Jacob loved his father very much,” she said through tears. “We feel Jacob will work hard” in memory of his father.


On that night, David was beaten during the early morning hours, but he wasn’t taken to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center until 14 hours later, according to the criminal complaint.


David sustained life-threatening injuries from bleeding on the brain, according to the criminal complaint, and he was flown to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, where he died two days later.


In court Friday, Jacob, wearing shackles and a blue jail uniform, thanked his family for their support. He said he will live with his father’s death forever.


The judge told Newer he must learn from this incident.


“I hope this sentence and this experience will be a dramatic change in your life,” Carlson said.



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